KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

For First Time, U.S. Proposes Changes To Resolutions Condemning Violence Against Women, Children At U.N. General Assembly

Devex: U.S. pushes caveats at U.N. on condemning violence against women, children
“The Trump administration is pushing for language in two separate U.N. resolutions on women and children that would only condemn violence in certain ‘unlawful’ circumstances rather than a blanket statement of ‘all forms’ of violence. The move is isolating the United States in the U.N. General Assembly and has prompted stern criticism from human rights and health organizations, including the International Women’s Health Coalition…” (Lieberman, 11/21).

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U.N. Climate Conference Negotiations End With Some Progress, U.S. Engagement 'Ambiguous'

Devex: 3 takeaways from the COP23 negotiations
“Early Saturday morning, after a series of false alarms and premature scheduling announcements, negotiators at the 23rd Conference of Parties in Bonn, Germany, found enough common ground to bring these latest climate change negotiations to a close. … Here are three takeaways from two weeks in Bonn. 1. The U.S. government’s ambiguous role … 2. A big moment for climate risk insurance — but no clear answers on loss and damage … 3. Deadlines looming in 2018…” (Igoe, 11/20).

Devex: COP23 endorses mainstreaming of gender in climate action
“Negotiators at the COP23 climate discussions in Bonn, Germany, have approved a plan to more directly include women in all climate activities and to enhance gender-related mandates that have already been adopted, in a move many participants said is long overdue. The Gender Action Plan (GAP), which was endorsed by the principals before the close of the two-week negotiations, is the result of a significant effort to mainstream gender in all stages of the Paris Agreement processes, from negotiations to strategy to reporting…” (Green, 11/20).

PRI: U.N. climate talks wrap with ‘modest’ progress and a subdued American presence
“…Supporters of the agreement feared the U.S. would try to slow progress toward its implementation, but those fears went largely unrealized in Bonn. White House aides and energy industry officials held a high-profile panel promoting efficient coal power as part of the solution to climate change, which was largely seen as contrary to the summit’s larger goals. But, simultaneously, State Department officials negotiating in closed-door sessions seemed to use a similar playbook as Obama-era delegates. No big decisions were expected at the talks this year as delegates largely worked toward 2018 deadlines for key elements of the Paris Agreement…” (11/20).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: EXPERT VIEWS — Despite U.S. lagging, climate action gathers speed, if limited cash
“…Negotiators left still unclear how richer countries will mobilize a promised $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer nations develop cleanly and become more resilient to climate change. And developed country officials refused to look at innovative taxes or other ways to help poor countries pay for growing losses from climate disasters, offering instead insurance options. Here are some views from government officials and climate experts on the outcomes of the talks…” (Rowling/Goering, 11/18).

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59K Haitians' Temporary Protected Status In U.S. To End In 18 Months, Trump Administration Announces

The Hill: DHS ends temporary residency program for 60K Haitians
“The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday it would cancel a temporary residence program that’s allowed nearly 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States…” (Bernal, 11/20).

New York Times: Trump Administration Ends Temporary Protection for Haitians
“…Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still struggling to recover from the earthquake and relies heavily on money its expatriates send to relatives back home. The Haitian government had asked the Trump administration to extend the protected status…” (Jordan, 11/20).

POLITICO: Homeland Security ends protected status for Haitians with an 18-month delay
“…After consulting U.S. and Haitian officials, [Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke] decided that on-the-ground conditions in Haiti no longer warranted the protection granted under the program. The move means that the Haitians given temporary protected status, or TPS, may remain until July 22, 2019, but could face deportation after that date…” (Hesson, 11/20).

Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Ends Humanitarian Protections for Haitians
“…The end of TPS for Haitians could have significant impacts on hospitality, health care, and other industries in South Florida, home to the largest concentration of Haitians in the U.S…” (Caldwell/Campo-Flores, 11/20).

Washington Post: Trump administration to end provisional residency protection for 60,000 Haitians
“…The 18-month deadline, Duke said, will allow for an ‘orderly transition,’ permitting the Haitians to ‘arrange their departure’ and their government to prepare for their arrival. The Haitians are among more than 300,000 foreigners, the majority of them illegal arrivals from Central America, living here under TPS. The designation was created in 1990 to shield foreign nationals from deportation if the executive branch determined that natural disasters or armed conflict in their countries had created instability or precarious conditions…” (DeYoung/Miroff, 11/20).

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Russia President Putin's Involvement In TB Conference Could Signal Greater Global Health Role For Nation

HuffPost: Putin Puts His Might Behind The Global Effort To Stop Tuberculosis
“Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke publicly about the need to rally resources and attention in the fight against tuberculosis, the world’s top infectious killer, in a move public health officials consider a signal that Russia is taking a larger role in the global health sphere. ‘I am convinced that only together by closing the ranks will we be able to counter the threat which has acquired truly global character,’ Putin said while opening the 2017 World Health Organization’s Global Ministerial Conference on Thursday. ‘TB still poses a serious health risk for people all over the globe’…” (Weber, 11/21).

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More Than Half Of People Living With HIV On Treatment Worldwide, But 16M More Need Access, UNAIDS Report Shows

New York Times: Nearly 21 Million Now Receiving AIDS Drugs, U.N. Agency Says
“Almost 21 million people around the world are now getting life-prolonging AIDS drugs, according to a report issued on Monday. But another 16 million people infected with HIV are not yet on medication. The report was released in South Africa by UNAIDS, the joint United Nations AIDS-fighting agency…” (McNeil, 11/20).

Xinhua News: More than half of population living with HIV on treatment: UNAIDS
“…In 2000, just 685,000 people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy; by June 2017, around 20.9 million people of the 36.7 million globally living with HIV had access to the life-saving medicines, according to the latest UNAIDS report, Right to Health, launched ahead of World AIDS Day. ‘This is the kind of acceleration we need to encourage, sustain, and replicate,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe…” (11/20).

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More Active Operational Role For WHO Might Raise Scrutiny, Tension Among Some Donors

Devex: WHO pivots to the field, setting up potential clash with donors
“The World Health Organization’s pivot toward a more operational role is likely to be the topic of scrutiny and potential tension with donors in a meeting of the Executive Board this week in Geneva, a senior official tells Devex. Since he became director general in May, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has pushed to give the organization both the resources and the structure to take on a more active role in the field. Many major donors, however, have told the WHO to stick to its traditional, guideline-setting role…” (Dickinson, 11/21).

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Health Indicator Progress Slipping In Africa, Making Gains In E.U., Reports Show

Devex: Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, and Togo lead Africa on development progress
“The rate of progress on human development has slowed over the past five years, according to the 2017 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, released [Monday]. The report found that progress in education has ‘nearly ground to a halt’ and the public is also losing faith in the ability of their governments to handle improving basic health services. While the index also rates countries in other areas, such as governance, rule of law, and sustainable economic opportunity, the human development category has been growing at the fastest rate over the past decade compared to the other areas measured in the index, with the most growth in the health sector. But the overall rate of this progress has notably slowed over the past five years…” (Jerving, 11/20).

EURACTIV: Eurostat gauges E.U. progress on SDG implementation
“Eurostat, the European Union statistical office, published on Monday (20 November) a monitoring report on how the E.U. as a whole implements the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), showing ‘significant’ progress in five of them and ‘moderate’ progress for eight others. The 370-page monitoring report describes progress made using a set of 100 indicators that are structured along the 17 SDGs, adopted by the United Nations in September 2015. … The E.U. made significant progress over the last five years towards the overall attainment of SDG 7 ‘Affordable and clean energy,’ SDG 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production,’ SDG 15 ‘Life on land,’ SDG 11 ‘Sustainable cities and communities,’ and SDG 3 ‘Good health and well-being,’ the report revealed…” (Gotev, 11/21).

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Billionaire Philanthropists To Launch $500M Co-Impact Fund, Aimed At Creating Collaborative 'Systems Change'

Financial Times: Billionaire donors agree to pool philanthropic resources
“Several of the billionaire philanthropists who signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s ‘Giving Pledge,’ in which they promise to devote at least half of their fortune to charity, have agreed to pool some of their resources and develop new ideas for giving their money away. The new venture, called Co-Impact and launching on Wednesday, reflects the changing nature of billionaire philanthropy, as donors increasingly set their sights on ambitious ‘systems change’ that typically requires collaborating with governments and international agencies. … It promises to funnel an initial $500m to innovative projects tackling problems in global health, education, and inequality…” (Foley, 11/17).

Forbes: How Billionaires Are Pooling Assets For A New Philanthropic Fund
“…The new fund reflects an evolving approach to philanthropy that focuses on collaboration between public and private groups to create larger ‘systems change.’ Key to the fund’s model will be open collaboration between philanthropists and social entrepreneurs, local communities, governments, and non-profits. Grants will commit up to $50 million over five year periods for initiatives that have proven outcomes through independent assessments…” (Wilson, 11/17).

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Yemen At Risk Of Famine If Port Blockade Continues, FEWS NET Survey Warns

Associated Press: World Food Programme fears more Yemen deaths amid blockade
“The head of the World Food Programme in Yemen said on Monday that millions of Yemenis face the risk of more deaths as aid deliveries cannot get to those in need because of the continuing blockade of the war-ravaged country by the Saudi-led coalition. … Of a population of 26 million, some 17 million Yemenis do not know where their next meal is coming from and seven million are totally dependent on food assistance…” (Michael, 11/20).

Reuters: Famine survey warns of thousands dying daily in Yemen if ports stay closed
“A U.S.-funded famine survey said on Tuesday that thousands of Yemenis could die daily if a Saudi-led military coalition does not lift its blockade on the country’s key ports. … Using the internationally recognized IPC 5-point scale for classifying food security, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) said that even before the current blockade, 15 million people were in ‘crisis’ (IPC Phase 3) or worse…” (Miles, 11/21).

Washington Post: Yemen’s man-made catastrophe has no end in sight
“…The prospect of famine dovetails with one of the worst outbreaks of cholera in recorded history, an epidemic that has killed more than 2,100 people over the past year. Aid agencies have worked fitfully to contain the disease, but they warn that a new outbreak is probable because of the chronic fuel shortages that have rendered sewage treatment plants and water-pumping facilities inoperable…” (Tharoor, 11/21).

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U.N. Panel Voices Concern Over N. Korea's Treatment Of Women; Parasites Found In Defector Show Nation's Nutrition, Hygiene Problems

Reuters: North Korean women suffer discrimination, rape, malnutrition: U.N.
“North Korean women are deprived of education and job opportunities and are often subjected to violence at home and sexual assault in the workplace, a U.N. human rights panel said on Monday. … North Korea told the panel on Nov. 8 that it was working to uphold women’s rights and gender equality but that sanctions imposed by major powers over its nuclear and missile programs were taking a toll on vulnerable mothers and children…” (Nebehay, 11/20).

Reuters: Injured defector’s parasites and diet hint at hard life in North Korea
“Parasitic worms found in a North Korean soldier, critically injured during a desperate defection, highlight nutrition and hygiene problems that experts say have plagued the isolated country for decades…” (Smith/Shin, 11/17).

Washington Post: What the parasites in a defector’s stomach tell us about North Korea
“…According to a report by the United Nations, two in five people in North Korea are undernourished. Seventy percent of people require food assistance to survive, including 1.3 million children below the age of five. And the food they have access to can sicken or kill them…” (Wootson, 11/19).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Putting people front and center: Participatory health in the 21st century (11/20).

Devex: How to improve access to NCD care (11/20).

Devex: Volunteers and loudspeakers: How a local response curbed Somaliland’s cholera outbreak (Jerving, 11/20).

Global Press Journal: Contraceptives at Age 15? Plan to Aid Economic Growth Draws Ire from Some Parents (Segawa, 11/14).

U.N. News Centre: Sanitation chain, wastewater treatment focus of World Toilet Day event at U.N. (11/20).

U.N. News Centre: UNICEF urges opportunities for ‘forgotten minority’ as study reveals bleak prospects for 180 million children (11/20).

Xinhua News: MSF calls for greater efforts to reduce high HIV/AIDS mortality rate in S. Africa (11/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Saudi-Led Coalition Blockades Worsen Humanitarian Situation In Yemen; Trump Administration Should 'Act Immediately'

Washington Post: Children are starving in Yemen. The White House should intervene.
Editorial Board

“…Yemen’s 28 million people depend on imports for up to 90 percent of their basic needs, including food, fuel, and medicine. … Saudi Arabia imposed the blockade after a missile allegedly fired by the Houthis came close to its capital, Riyadh. … According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Sanaa, Hodeida, and three other crowded cities … have lost access to clean drinking water because of a lack of fuel. One million children are at risk from an incipient diphtheria epidemic because vaccines are out of reach on U.N. ships offshore. According to Rasha Muhrez, Save the Children’s director of operations in Yemen, several governates are down to a five-day supply of the fuel needed to operate flour mills, without which the millions dependent on food handouts will starve. … The Trump administration, through the State Department, has objected to the ongoing blockade and called for ‘unimpeded access’ for humanitarian supplies. But many in Yemen suspect, with some reason, that the White House is tolerating, if not encouraging, the crime. … Even if it was unaware of the subsequent crackdown, the White House has the leverage to put a stop to it. It should act immediately, or it will be complicit in a crime against humanity” (11/20).

Slate: The Deep Roots of Yemen’s Famine
Laura Kasinof, author

“The intractable war in Yemen that has been laying waste to the northern half of the country for nearly three years became even more dismal in early November when Saudi Arabia tightened its blockade on the country, cutting a desperate population off from much-needed food aid, medical supplies, and fuel. … The United Nation’s under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has warned that if the blockade isn’t lifted, Yemen ‘… will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.’ … Making matters worse, Yemen has also been suffering from the largest cholera outbreak in recorded history, killing at least 2,150 civilians since October 2016. While the spread of cholera recently has been contained, renewed fuel shortages mean clean water cannot be pumped from deep wells, nor transported to vulnerable populations. … Cases of other diseases, like diphtheria and scabies, have also been reported and hospitals have limited supplies of medicines to treat them. … Many Yemenis can’t afford what food exists — a gap that aid agencies can’t totally fill even in the best of environments…” (11/20).

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WHO Should Prioritize Measurement Of Health SDG Progress, Infectious Disease Preparedness

STAT: Focused projects can help Tedros restore confidence in the WHO
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for the WHO’s R&D Blueprint

“…This week, the WHO executive board meets in a special session to decide its strategy and program of work. … [W]hile universal health coverage is very important, [WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] needs to pick a few other programs of work where it has the capacity to achieve more, and quickly. I would make the case for two priorities. First, make tangible progress on the health elements of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. … Second, build a world that’s better prepared for emerging infectious diseases. … Take on these priorities, and show real measurable impact, and the WHO can rebuild its reputation as an organization that is a force for change, not one that papers over failures. The prize of a resulting increase in confidence in the WHO will be substantial: nothing less than restoring faith in multilateral partnerships at a time when there is a real danger of returning to more nationalistic and isolationist agendas…” (11/21).

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Government Of India Should Not Blame Companies For Country's Drug Access Challenges

Forbes: WHO Conference Enables India’s Deadly Blame Game
Roger Bate, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

“…Sick patients, in India and everywhere else, aren’t getting treated because of greed. This is nonsense. Over 95 percent of drugs considered essential by the WHO are off patent. The reason patients don’t receive them has nothing to do with corporate greed and everything to do with poverty, protectionism, and government incompetence. … Neglect and mismanagement have left the Indian public health infrastructure in shoddy shape, precious vaccines are ruined due to improper storage, and sanitation is so bad that India is fast becoming the epicenter of dangerous new drug resistance. … It is unfortunate that WHO is a willing accomplice to India’s aims. … [The 1st World Conference on Access to Medical Products and International Laws for Trade and Health, in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in New Delhi] has all the appearances of being born of good faith. It’s not. This is an expensive exercise in blame-shifting. It is of no surprise that the conference is being held over Thanksgiving. Limiting U.S. participation means fewer voices arguing with the mantra of corporate greed. The Indian government and WHO should stop pointing fingers and take a cold hard look in the mirror” (11/20).

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Investing In Civil Registration, Vital Statistics Systems Critical To Assessing, Achieving Public Health Goals

Devex: Opinion: The Achilles heel of the Sustainable Development Goals is a lack of data
Philip Setel, vice president and director of the civil registration and vital statistics program at Vital Strategies

“…Billions of people live in countries with weak civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, which renders many of them effectively invisible — their lives and deaths slipping through the cracks and their experiences leaving no signposts for policymakers to improve services in the future. … [C]ountry investments in improved CRVS systems are the best long-term way to sustainably determine the needs of national and sub-national populations; measure progress toward the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]; and determine and assess public health objectives. … Fortunately, we have a way forward. Because of technological advancements in data collection and processing, for the first time in history it may be possible to count every human life and make the invisible visible. … It is vitally important that each of us who care about health goals also become advocates for governments to be scorekeepers and invest in civil registration and vital statistics” (11/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Multilateral Aid Review Act 'Positive Step' Toward U.S. Aid Reforms

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: Multilateral Aid Review Act a Bipartisan Opportunity to Increase Aid Effectiveness
In a statement delivered on behalf of MFAN, Co-Chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette write, “MFAN commends the effort to review U.S. assistance to multilateral institutions in order to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness. … Overall, [the Multilateral Aid Review Act (S. 1928)] is a positive step toward evidence-based reforms as an alternative to the administration’s proposed deep and disproportionate budget cuts to international programs. … As the bill moves forward, MFAN hopes to work with Congress to strengthen provisions related to transparency, congressional and stakeholder engagement, and the articulation of foreign policy interests” (11/20).

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CGD Outlines Reasons U.S. Congress, Donors Should Continue To Support GAFSP

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: GAFSP’s Last Gasp? Don’t Count on It
Scott Morris, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative at CGD, discusses the history and role of the U.S. Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), and a call by the Trump administration for Congress and donors to cease support of the fund. Morris outlines three overarching merits of the program, arguing for its continuation: “1. There continues to be large unmet need for financing agriculture investments in poor countries. … 2. GAFSP has an innovative governance structure that was created to address criticisms directed at the traditional institutions and funding arrangements. … 3. GAFSP is delivering results…” (11/20).

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CGD Examines Lessons Learned From Global Fund OIG's Audit Of Wambo.org

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Three Lessons from the OIG’s Wambo.org Audit
Rachel Silverman, senior policy analyst and assistant director of global health policy at CGD, discusses results from the Global Fund Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) recently released audit report on Wambo.org, the fund’s “online procurement platform for drugs and other health commodities, which is intended to streamline global health procurement and generate savings of $246 million by 2019.” Silverman concludes, “[T]he clear divergence between the Global Fund’s lofty expectations and the relatively marginal impact observed thus far underlines the importance of understanding ‘value,’ interrogating assumptions, and directly measuring impact against a meaningful counterfactual” (11/20).

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MSF To Urge India To Overturn Pfizer Patent On Pneumonia Vaccine

Médecins Sans Frontières: India: Unmerited Pfizer patent on pneumonia vaccine limits access for children
“Pfizer does not deserve the patent it was granted in August on its pneumonia vaccine, said Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF is set to argue [on Tuesday] in the High Court of Delhi, India that it should be overturned because the patent doesn’t meet the standards laid out in India’s Patents Act. The U.S.-based drug corporation’s unmerited patent prevents vaccine manufacturers in India from developing the vaccine until 2026, depriving countless children of the opportunity to be protected against pneumonia, which kills 2,500 kids per day…” (11/20).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Supports Humanitarian Efforts For Rohingya, Rakhine Refugees In Burma, Bangladesh

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Assessing the Impact of U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Burma and Bangladesh
Simon Henshaw, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugee, and Migration, discusses a recent “delegation to Burma and Bangladesh to see firsthand what is happening on the ground with regard to the humanitarian situation and the impact of our assistance.” Henshaw writes, “The U.S. was one of the first to pledge funds to support international organizations in this crisis, and our commitment has been followed by generous contributions from other donors. However, more is needed, and we call on others to join us in our response…” (11/20).

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Q&A Series Continues To Highlight Women Working In Development, Supported By USAID

USAID/Medium: Q&A Series: When Women Do Better, Countries Do Better
In this continuing series of blog posts, USAID highlights the innovative work of women the agency has supported. “They are having an outsized impact in the developing world – and beyond – proving that when women do better, countries do better,” the blog notes. The second piece in the series profiles Rama Kayyali, co-founder of Little Thinking Minds; the third outlines the work of Sasha Kramer, who co-founded SOIL in Haiti; and the fourth profiles Laura Stachel, co-founder of We Care Solar (11/21).

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